Anchorage Mayor Offers Plane Rides To Homeless People

Ticket To Ride  If The Mayor Has His Way, Homeless People In Anchorage Could Be Offered A One-Way Ticket Out Of Town      The city of Anchor...

Ticket To Ride 

If The Mayor Has His Way, Homeless People In Anchorage Could Be Offered A One-Way Ticket Out Of Town   

The city of Anchorage's way of dealing with the homeless this year is lurching awkwardly forward. In late July, 2023, the mayor abruptly announced a new solution. He wants to buy homeless people a plane ticket to somewhere else. Anywhere else. To get them out of town. 

It all started in May, when the city threw most of the winter residents from the Sullivan arena shelter out on the street on a single day in early spring, while the snow was still falling. They gave many a sleeping bag and tent that had been donated by a benefactor, and wished them luck, apparently believing they would somehow melt into the woods. 

The second batch of residents from the Sullivan – those the city considered the "most vulnerable" – were thrown out a month later.  

Soon after, you could see news stories showing ragged tents with wheelchairs pushed up against them, under trees and near parking lots, on lawns, near roads and fences. You could see people with their shopping carts, their rolling suitcases, and stacks of broken pallets, trying to make themselves a home in the wilds of Alaska's largest city. 

Then, after awhile, the city decided this had become a problem. They told the homeless they had leave Anchorage's Cuddy Park, because a concert there was more important. People continued to set up settlements in other parks, including Mountain View, and on grassy lawns near the Railroad Station. 

The city began griping about these new tent cities. Problems have plagued various tent cities in Alaska since the gold miners arrived. Railroad workers set up the first tent city in Anchorage near Ship Creek. It was soon shut down because of the trash, drinking water and human feces problems it generated.

This summer, when the city tried to get the homeless thrown out of their impromptu camps, the courts stepped in and blocked the effort. You can't legally target the homeless when there are no alternatives, and no other place to go. 

Last summer, the city operated a quasi-sanctioned homeless camp at Centennial Park, on the Glenn Highway as you enter Anchorage. 

This year, it's everybody for themselves. 

Now, Mayor Bronson of Anchorage has come up with yet another solution: Buy homeless people a one-way airplane ticket to a "warmer" place – so they won't freeze to death this winter. 

His suggestion of one such warmer place: Fairbanks. 


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